I have run across a few quotes this week that struck a chord with me and I thought I would share my thoughts.
I wasn't sure how I felt when I first read this quote. When I first started teaching physics, I felt like an imposter who was "faking it" hoping to eventually "make it". But when I think back to that time in my career, I wasn't "faking it", I was doing the hard work. I failed a lot in those first few years, but I never gave up. I constantly kept trying to make my understanding and my teaching of physics better. Every year I was improving. And I am not alone. This process is what all good teachers do. We analyze all interactions with each student every day and see where we can do it better. This is the message we want our students to learn and practice failing and getting back up to keep trying.
This quote is in reality very similar to the previous quote. We have to teach our students that it is ok to fail, because there is success in learning from failures. Students are currently so terrified of failure that it holds them back from their true potential. It requires a change in perspective and we have to make sure that we provide spaces where students feel safe to fail. AP Physics 1 class was often the first time my students felt challenged and they struggled when they did not do well on a test. They had the option of doing test corrections and often told me they learned so much from that process. They built their physics understanding by learning from the mistakes they made, building success from failure.
This last one also hits home. As a teacher I worked hard to show respect to and earn respect from my students. Once they understood I would always provide help if they asked and that I would never make them feel less for the ask, they worked harder for me. Pretty simple concept, but one that some district administrators have either forgotten or never believed. Teaching has gotten more difficult and more teachers are leaving the profession than are entering. We are nearing a critical tipping point and districts should be doing everything they can to keep their teachers. That requires making sure their teachers are valued, respected and appreciated. Jeans day is nice, but it completely misses the mark. Teachers need to be part of any decision making process that impacts what goes on in the classroom. Teachers go into teaching to have an impact on students. If a district values teachers, they will do everything they can to help the students be successful.
Quotes don't always speak to me, but these really made me think this week. Happy 4th of July!